Bermuda’s leaders pay tribute to 9/11 dead
The 20th anniversary of the 9/11 terror attacks was remembered on Saturday morning in a wreath-laying ceremony at the US Consulate.
David Burt, the Premier, said he was honoured to pay homage to the almost 3,000 people who lost their lives in the 2001 attacks.
The death toll included Bermudians Rhondelle Tankard and Boyd Gatton, who died after terrorists flew passenger jets into the twin towers of the World Trade Centre in New York.
Mr Burt said: “Rhondelle Tankard lived in Devonshire. She liked to sing and served as a church music minister, choir instructor and performed at weddings.
“A broker for Aon Corporation, based in Bermuda, Rhondelle had accepted a two-month assignment at Aon’s New York office starting on September 10.”
He said Mr Gatton was born in Bermuda, but moved to the US in 1992 and was an operations officer at Fiduciary Trust when the attacks took place.
Mr Burt added: “He spent his free time practising tai chi in the park near his home, doing carpentry work and enjoying the company of his nieces from Bermuda when they visited with his two sisters.
“Now, 20 years later, we remember the shock and loss and we will continue to keep their friends and families in our thoughts and our prayers. We will always keenly feel the loses.”
Mr Burt also praised the heroism of the emergency services and others in the wake of the attacks
He said: “We will always remember where we were on that day and we will always see in our minds eye the devastation of that day.
“There were many lessons learnt, and we must remember that through unity we will overcome adversity. We must pledge to do our part to make this world in which we live a little safer.”
Karen Grissette, the US Consul General, said she was in Arlington, Virginia on September 11, 2001 going through her final day of State Department training.
Ms Grissette said: “I remembers hearing and seeing the planes hitting the twin towers on television, and then looking out the window and seeing the plumes of ominous black smoke in the sky above the Pentagon.”
She thanked America’s allies, including Bermuda and the UK, for their support in the aftermath of the attacks.
Rena Lalgie, the Governor, said September 11, 2001 was a day that changed the world forever.
She added it was important to remember not only the people who lost their lives, but also those left with physical and mental scars.
Ms Lalgie said: “We can stand sure in the knowledge that the resilience of the human spirit has shone through. Longstanding friendships have been robust.
“We have fostered new partnerships based on the way we want to change our world for the better.
“With time, we have learnt to be more inclusive and more respectful.
“The compassion and resolve shown by ordinary people remains an example for us all.”
Ms Lalgie, Ms Grissette and Mr Burt all laid wreaths in remembrance of those lost in the attacks.
Representatives of Saltus of Saltus Grammar School, where Mr Gatton was a pupil, and Warwick Academy, where Ms Tankard studied, also laid wreaths.